Michelangelo Pistoletto

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Michelangelo Pistoletto (2012)

Michelangelo Pistoletto (born June 23, 1933 in Biella ) is an Italian painter , action and object artist and art theorist . Pistoletto is counted among the main representatives of the Italian Arte Povera ; his work mainly deals with the subject of reflection and the union of art and everyday life in the sense of a total work of art .

life and work

Pistoletto worked in his father's restoration workshop in Turin from 1947 to 1958 . In the 1950s he began to paint his first figurative works and self-portraits. In 1959 he took part in the Biennale di San Marino . He had his first solo exhibition the following year in the Galleria Galatea in Turin. In the early 1960s, Pistoletto began with figurative paintings and self-portraits, which he created on a monochrome, metallic background. He later combined painting with photographs using collage techniques on reflective backgrounds. He used partially concave or convex distorting mirrors as a painting surface , which made the viewer appear either too big or too small in relation to the painted, realistic-looking figures. Finally, he switched to printing photorealistic scenarios using the screen printing process on the polished steel plates, so that the viewer almost completely merges with what is depicted. In the mid-1960s, the gallery owner Ileana Sonnabend made him known to the international public.

In 1965/66 the series Oggetti in meno (Minus Objects) was created , which is one of Pistoletto's earliest sculptural works. 1966 Pistoletto had his first solo exhibition in the United States at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis . In 1967 his work was awarded the main prize at the São Paulo Biennale . In the same year Pistoletto began to focus his interest on performance , as well as video art and theater . With the action art group Zoo Group , which he founded , he created various performances from 1968 to 1970 that took place in the studio, in public facilities or on the streets of Turin or other major cities. As in Pistoletto's two-dimensional and sculptural works, the unity of art and everyday life should be shown.

Pistoletto exhibited in 1969 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo , New York State , and in 1993/1994 at the Kestner Society in Hanover . Michelangelo Pistoletto was represented four times at a documenta in Kassel : 1968 at the 4th documenta , 1992 at Documenta IX , 1997 at Documenta X and 2002 at Documenta11 .

Arte Povera

The artist increasingly made use of everyday, "banal" and shabby props for his work: the installation Venere degli stracci (Venus of the Rags / Venus in Lumpen) from 1967 is a clear indication of this new "art of the poor" ( arte povera ): A copy of a “classically beautiful” Aphrodite statue standing in front of a pile of old clothes. The work received a great response: Pistoletto, which began under the American influence of "Post- Pop-Art " and photorealism , was quickly listed by gallery owners and critics as a significant representative of the new, primarily Italian trend of "Arte Povera" in the catalogs . Against the background of student unrest in 1968 Pistoletto moved his participation in the Biennale of Venice back. In the following years Pistoletto dealt with conceptual ideas, which he presented in book form ( L 'uomo nero. 1970). In 1974 he withdrew almost completely from the art scene: he took an exam as a ski instructor and spent most of his time in the mountains of San Sicario . At the end of the 1970s, he made sculptures, heads and torsos out of polyurethane and marble and in doing so received ancient artifacts and continued to pursue performance and theater projects , including in the USA in Athens , Atlanta and San Francisco . In the early 1980s he presented theater works, such as Anno Uno (March 1981) at the Teatro Quirino in Rome .

Pistoletto has lived and worked in Turin since 1990.

Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto

In 1994, Michelangelo Pistoletto proclaimed his program Progetto Arte, which aims at the creative and socio-economic unification of all areas of human existence, in the narrower sense the systematic combination of all achievements and knowledge of civilization with the aspects of art - fashion , theater, design , etc. In this context he founded the art city Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto - in a decommissioned textile factory near Biella in 1996 , as a center and “laboratory” for the promotion and research of creative resources and the production of innovative ideas and possibilities. The Cittadelarte is divided into various offices / offices ( work , education , communication , art , food , politics , spirituality and business ), which exchange information with one another in an intermedia network . Although designed as a closed system, transparency to the outside world is an essential aspect of the Cittadelarte.


Works (selection)


Writings by Michelangelo Pistoletto


  • Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover : Michelangelo Pistoletto exhibition catalog, with a foreword by Wieland Schmied , 1973
  • Thomas Deecke: Michelangelo Pistoletto. Hold up the mirror. Artists - Critical Lexicon of Contemporary Art, Issue 11, Munich 1990 ISSN  0934-1730
  • Helmut Friedel: Michelangelo Pistoletto. Memoria Intelligentia Praevidentia. Catalog for the 1996 exhibition at Lenbachhaus Munich , Hatje Cantz Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3-89322-838-1
  • Michelangelo Pistoletto: A Minus Artist. Hopefulmonster Editore, 1988, ISBN 88-7757-020-2
  • Nike Bätzner: Arte povera. Between memory and event: Giulio Paolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jannis Kounellis. Verlag für modern art, Nuremberg, 2000, ISBN 3-933096-34-0

Web links

Commons : Michelangelo Pistoletto  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual references and sources

  1. A similar process can be found with the American pop artist James Rosenquist
  2. Michelangelo Pistoletto. (No longer available online.) Guggenheim Collection , archived from the original on July 19, 2008 ; Retrieved July 13, 2008 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.guggenheimcollection.org
  3. ^ "... apertura e interrelazione complessa con il mondo." - Cittadellarte. Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto, accessed December 7, 2013 .
  4. ^ From the things of life in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung of May 20, 2012, page 55
  5. ^ Publicart.at Susanne Neuburger: The wing of Krems